- Bronze Ferragamo T-straps, my wedding shoes ($13.12 — a moment of silence for the original Filene's Basement)
- Bronze Me Too ballet flats, synthetic lining horribly deteriorated.
- Brown Timberland rubber-soled slides, look like elf clogs, require thick socks.
- Black Ferragamo heels with sexy, slender T-straps. Perfect shoes. ($43, Second Time Around. They're size 8AA, so it's a triple miracle that I spotted them, tried them on my 7B foot anyhow, and they fit perfectly).
- Black Easy Spirit mid-heeled shoe-boots (shooties? booes?) with tiny side zippers. Like boots, only shorter, these need opaque tights.
But women need shoes. I love shoes. It's too bad they don't love me. I keep trying to find winners, in fits and starts, like when the seasons are changing and I feel a burst of optimism. My chief excuse is that I occasionally need to look respectable and I hate scrambling around at the last minute for a decent ensemble that doesn't exist. Plus, I suspect that it's a major Fashion Don't for a woman of my age and situation to spend half the year in flip flops. Surely one should have a more fashionable, age-appropriate alternative for all those weeks between May and November. Something attractive and "fun" that one can easily walk a few miles in — is that just too much to ask? Yes.
Don't advise me to wear sneakers or trainers or those "walking shoes" that look like running shoes that aren't fully evolved. I'm not the Proper Bostonian for nothing, despite my flip-flop addiction. Athletic shoes are for being athletic. And that's all.
Anyhow... I've had it with sandals. And my paltry shoe collection won't tide me over until boot season starts. So I recently ordered five pairs of shoes from Anthropologie and J. Crew while they were offering discounts and free shipping. Usually shoe prospects come out of their box and stay on my feet less than 60 seconds; that's all it takes for the pain alarm to sound. But, surprisingly, all five of these shoes seem to have potential. Here they are:
Heels from Anthropologie.
Suede ballet flats from J. Crew.
I desperately need flats since I've worn out my only pair. Plain ballet flats are so versatile, and I see dozens of pretty pairs speeding around Boston's streets every day. But it's amazing how painful ballet flats can be, even though they appear just the opposite. Many of them don't have flexible soles, and often they are too flat. A slight heel is much better for walking. After years of making adorable, unwearable flats, J. Crew has improved their "Cece"style with an internal wedge heel, a flexible rubber sole, gentle gathers for a snug fit, and no shank. I ordered up a half size, and they're close to perfect, although they'll need some breaking in. Of course. (I always wear flats without tights. With other shoes, I go bare-legged when it's warm and wear tights when it's cold.)
There's just one problem with these ballerinas. They're noisy! They make a constant, "grunting" racket as I walk around the apartment, waiting for them to hurt. I had everyone's attention last night as I modeled both colors. So weird. I tried on my old flats to see how noisy they were: slightly, but no comparison. I'm not sure what to do. I googled them. J. Crew must be selling thousands of these and no one is complaining that they're noisy. Leave it to me to find a pretty, comfortable shoe with other problems. I suppose I can get away with grunting shoes as long as I remember to seek out loud places and avoid quiet streets, museums, concert halls, and memorial chapels. I suppose. But then my next challenge will be to pick a color; I don't need two pairs of grunting flats. Or do I? Both seem to look good with most of what's in my pathetic closet. But navy doesn't work with black and bronze doesn't look good with navy....
All three pairs of Anthropologie heels are charming, and a new look for me. I haven't worn heels routinely since I was in my 30s. I had to dress very nicely when I managed a chamber-music series, and it's strange to recall that I once had a closet full of lovely dresses, elegant jackets, silky blouses and skirts, and beautiful shoes. I used to love getting dressed every day; I wasn't always a hopeless case. Blame freelancing and the dot-com era.
Anyway, the Seychelles T-straps seem truly comfortable, and I can wear them with tights when the weather cools. They're also a deal with my birthday discount: $83. Keepers. The Miss Albright pumps are darling in both colors. They're cut high, so I could wear peds with them if I decide to become a ped-wearer. (I don't think I'll ever wear nylons again, despite all they do for Kate the Duchess.) If I decide to splurge, which color? The yellow is intense, but somehow they go with nearly everything and make a statement I can handle. But the brown pumps are gorgeous and classy, and I think they are a tad more comfortable.
I'd forgotten that even medium heels make legs look spectacular. Especially legs that live in flip flops. My husband likes all of them, mainly for that reason. But do I need them? Can I afford them? Can I afford not to have them the next time I have to look presentable? What to do....